Mayor commits to fully supporting city schools in 'State of the City' speech
In case you missed it among all of the accolades in education portion of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's 'State of the City' address Monday, the mayor made some pretty strong commitments to schools in the coming year, considering the sizeable city budget deficit.
According to the text of the mayor's address, she pledged do the following:
"The budget realignment for 'Better Schools' maintains full funding of the city's obligation to public schools. And, despite an $80 million deficit this year:
• We will maintain every school based health center, because we know that health is critical for keeping students in school.
• We will keep the doors of every neighborhood library open to promote reading and lifelong learning.
• We will maintain our investment in Teach For America, which has doubled since last year, in order to get the best new teachers. We will fund Experience Corps to keep sending volunteers into the classroom.
• We will increase funding to the Youth Opportunity Program for workforce services aimed towards at-risk youth.
• The City will continue to fund the after-school programs that were added to the budget at the height of the housing boom, when the City was enjoying large budget surpluses. These programs reach more than 5,000 students, helping to increase school attendance and leveraging $16 million in other resources.
On Monday, she also announced the creation of a new Mayor's Youth Cabinet to better coordinate the City's collective resources and services for children. The cabinet, the mayor said, will also focus on leveraging state, federal, foundation, and private funding to enhance outcomes for our youth. Dr. Carla Hayden, head of Enoch Pratt Free Library System, will serve as chair.